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Live Report: Wear Your Wounds and Chrome Over Bass

Wear Your Wounds. Photo credit: Christopher Harrington
Wear Your Wounds. Photo credit: Christopher Harrington

Jacob Bannon’s noisy, experimental, and wholly artful project Wear Your Wounds stopped by St. Vitus this past Saturday to rearrange the dimensional altitude of the place ten-fold. The group, featuring Mike McKenzie (The Red Chord, Stomach Earth), F. Sean Martin (Hatebreed, Cold Cave), Adam McGrath (Cave In, Zozobra), and Christopher Maggio (Trap Them, Coliseum), was a cacophony of pressure, building layers of force behind Bannon’s poetic excursions. There was an unyielding pace to the show, entropy threatened perpetually, only to be lulled perfectly as the band fit its madness together just so.

Alex Garcia-Rivera’s solo instrumental band Chrome Over Bass opened things up. Darkness, precision, and a wondrously concussive lightshow ensued, as Garcia-Rivera played drums over recorded instrumentals he wrote, with rhythm positioned as the circumference of his compositions. You might wonder how someone could get away with playing drums alone on stage for half an hour while keeping things fresh, but Garcia-Rivera excelled at the formula. It was exciting to focus on one instrument visually for an entire set, as the musician made the case that restraint and focus, rather than sheer power and abundance, truly rules the percussive-verse. The set was swirling and thick, chugging and lean: a tight and technical wave of creation.

Wear Your Wounds released its debut full-length in April, a sprawling and moody wave of post rock, ambience, and introspection. This was the group’s first proper U.S. tour, and the lineup Bannon assembled for it was adept at creating the sort of environment he molded on said album, which was spirited and lead by the piano. Lacking that instrument, the collective took a more painterly approach: three guitarists, Bannon on bass, and Maggio on drums, guided each other with swaths of whimsy and curls of action. There was some massive art and punk here, and it was bountiful for the psyche. You were led to lands of vision and plateaus of nuance.

Compared to Bannon’s main band, Converge, Wear Your Wounds is more like the physical mix that creates the cement, rather than the cement itself. The band is spatial, and the duration of time plays an infinite factor in the music. Many of these songs have been years in the making, and as Bannon glided and raged onstage, one could sense this was his complete expression. The songs were like cycles of the road, his travels, and his perception of reality and hope. He chose the right guys for the band, which at times seemed larger than life, building endless depths of noise worlds, but always with a floating sense of invisibility — like everything would balance at the right time.

— Christopher Harrington

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